Saturday, December 31, 2011

YOU KNOW I GOT TO...

Saturday, December 31,2011, and I can't help myself. It's the last day of another year. Here's my to do (or to not do) list for 2012.


1. Be more careful about there, their and they're. I really do know the difference, but it's like my fingers don't. I type away and my word of choice is 'their' in almost every instance. Thank all you lovely people, who I'm driving nuts, for not saying a word.


2. Let the 'hairdresser' know best. At my last haircut a week ago, I said let's do this. She looked at me funny but didn't say a word. (I had grown too used to the friend who cut my hair in the States. Most times when I said something like that she would look at me in the mirror and say; "Hummm, no. If we do that, this will happen and you'll look like a poodle.) Yeah, I look like a poodle. It grows fast down here, so I got about three more week. Maybe I'll let it snarl into dreads. Naw, probably not.


3.  I'm going to edit, edit, edit and rework everything possible on this current WIP. I'm going to let others read it. Other than those people who depend on me for dinner, like Rick. I can't trust if he's being honest or if he's saying good things because he wants me to cook.


4. I'm trying as I write this to join an online writers group. They are considering my application. If they don't want me, I'll keep trying. The help and encouragement I've gotten from you lovely people has been invaluable. I know I can learn from working with others.


5.  I'm going to hope the writer's group on the island (apparently there is 1) is still active and will take me. This is particularly scary. Listening to people critique your work in person. YIKES!


6.  I'm going to work harder on my 'trust issues'. This will make 3, 4 & 5 easier.


7. I'm going to see this current WIP through and secure representation. I believe in this story. It will not sit in a drawer.


8. I'm going to try to keep my clothes on. By that I mean I'm going to try to keep my foot out of my mouth, so I don't have to take my clothes off and apologize for my stupid self too much. As far as being honest and who I am...well...that kind of naked I just can't help.


9. I'm gonna hope I'm kind and helpful to everyone. I do believe that 'there is no excuse for bad behavior'. By bad behavior I mean not 'attending to the business of our fellow man'.


10. I'm gonna write, write and write some more. I'm planning on doing Nano next November. I might try that A to Z Blog Challenge this spring. I'm not gonna worry about the commas (That's what editing is for, right?) and I'm gonna kill those vampires in my head. I also want to read more.


That' it. Not too bad, right?


I have got to say how much I appreciate every single one of you who follow me, especially those who comment regularly. I'm really not a 'headhunter'. I bog for myself (because I can't shut up and the words have to go somewhere). The comments and encouragement you give me here, the things you tell me on your blogs and the friendship I feel is priceless. Thank You.


Happy New Year!


Now, go over to www.frankiediane.blogspot.com and sign up to do the "No Kiss Blog Fest on Monday January 2,2012. You know you want to. It will be fun. Great practice. Just do it.

Friday, December 30, 2011

GUEST POST - The one that almost wasn't.

Here is that guest post that never happened.I spent too much time on it to never let it see the light of day. (Besides ~ Word Junkie ~ need I say more.) I even had someone else edit for commas, 'cause, well, you know me. Enjoy or not...it was a good time for me!

As the end of 2011 approaches and we’re about to climb down the rabbit hole of 2012, I want to tell you about some things I learned last month (November). First, let me tell you that in November I fell crazy, madly, and insanely in love. Being so crazy in love is a reckless, wonderful, and exciting place to be, because you know your heart is gonna get broken. Ah, a broken heart. The stuff that dreams and stories are made of.

November was my first time. Yeah, I’ll admit it right here on someone else’s blog.(OK, so now I'm admitting it right here on my own blog.) Up until last month I was a virgin. Crossing that bridge was absolutely awesome. Can anyone deny it? While experiencing that major rite of passage, I learned three important things.

First. You have got to go for broke. Hold nothing back. Take what you can, and give your heart away. It’s a real ‘ask not what you are going to get out of this, but give every last drop of blood, sweat and tears that you’ve got, sit back, and see if it wasn’t worth it’ experience.
Q & A
Was it worth it? You had better believe it.
 Would I do it again? Oh yeah, I plan to; over and over.
Did you give everything? Without a doubt.
Did you get an equal amount in return? More than anyone could ever imagine.

Second. Accept the fact that you don’t always know your own heart until you give it away and allow it to be broken. You think you know who you are and then you enter into an experience as enormous as this and everyday you’re finding out new little things about yourself. Never say never. All those things you thought and said you would never do/say/be. Give it up. Let yourself do/say/be them. There are no boundaries. You won’t fall off the edge of the world. Go ahead break a few rules. After all, this is love. You just might get better/bigger/experienced.
Q & A
Did you find your heart? You had better believe it.
Did it hurt? Oh yeah, but I still plan to do it over and over.
Did you get beyond the ‘never say never’? Without a doubt.
Did you get better/bigger/experienced? More than anyone could ever imagine.

Third. Don’t try to do it alone. Of course, you wouldn’t fall in love alone. You need a lover, but I’m talking about something more. I’m talking about surrounding yourself with friends, a family of sorts. People who have been there or are there right now. People who understand what you’re going through. Someone who can pick you up on those days when you feel ‘unloved’. Friends who can shout ‘huzzah’ for your small victories. Those who will be there at ‘the end’. How do you mend a broken heart? How do you go on after? How do you see yourself through until the next time? With friends.
Q & A
Did you find those like minded people? You had better believe it.
Do you still go to friends/family to be picked up, ‘loved’, share victories? Oh yeah, over and over again.
Were these friends/family honestly there for you? Without a doubt.
Friends? That’s the secret to dealing with love and a broken heart? More than anyone could ever imagine.

Funny how that Q&A thing worked out. You had better believe that in November I held nothing back. I gave it all I had. I found my heart and I got bigger/better/experienced. I made friends with some of the most incredible people who will always be a part of the experience. A part of me. My experience with this particular love affair taught me that it’s something I definitely want to do over and over. Absolutely, completely, without a doubt.  I can only hope I gave something back, because I got more than anyone could ever imagine.

In November 2011 I fell crazy in love with NaNoWriMo. It was my first time participating. Up until then, I was a NaNo virgin. I started out wanting to win, to finish, to make it across that 50k line. Somewhere in there, I realized that I won the day I started. Finishing wasn’t as important as participating. That 50k imaginary line was a minor accomplishment compared to the things I was learning. The people I connected with during this ‘love affair’ were a greater gift than the affair itself.

In 2012 I plan to fully participate in life and NaNoWriMo. I plan to put my heart out there and go for broke every single day and see what happens. I promise to keep meeting incredible people, to ‘make new friends, but keep the old’. After all, ‘one is silver and the other gold’. I hope you do too. In 2012 I plan to “Tell Great Stories”.

Here's a song I like. They call it the 'funeral song', but I don't feel that way about it. Besides, death is just the next adventure. Try not to picture this poor woman in a towel. Just listen and let it haunt you!



Thursday, December 29, 2011

December 29~DAZED, CRAZED, COOKED, DONE, FINI, THE END, ###

%$&#^%($*&^$@@(  OK, that was not me cussing, that was me dancing. What can I say? White girl living in the Caribbean, not a whole lot of natural rhythm, but a ton of enthusiasm.

Have I sounded a little dazed, crazed, and cooked lately. If you don't think so you just being nice. I have been crazy. Here let me explain.

I finished up NaNoWriMo a winner.I wrote 85k+ words in the month of November in a novel that contained a whole lot of my heart and soul. Then, I took a week or so off. I wrote a few reviews. Not bad, but I started to think and read. For me that's dangerous. I unleashed the Vampires in my head. I became afraid of pouring my soul into the balance of my work. People would see me standing there naked. They would know who I am. I couldn't do it.

This was not a simple case of 'writer's block'. Oh no. I knew exactly where the story and plot needed to go.I knew what needed to be said. I just couldn't make myself do it. I had read a few too many posts critizing some author for being a repressed so and so, who must not have had a life at whatever period her/his protag was going through. You know the kind of crap I mean( at least, I hope you do - Classic example all the stuff written comparing Stephanie Meyer to Bella Swan, etc. etc. etc.). Anyway...

I started thinking, is that what makes a work great vs.good. Putting yourself out there. Dipping that pen in your own blood and writing your soul. I hope so, because that's what I did today. There I go, taking my clothes off in public again. You're getting used to that aren't you. I can't seem to help myself.   

This morning someone made a comment that was simple and helpful, but I was on the precipice and it pushed me over the edge.I sat at the computer and cried for about twenty minutes (Are you kidding me? NO I'm not.).Then I wrote. I poured myself into that keyboard and I finished the NaNo project. It's over 125k+ words. A little too long. I'm sure there is a ton of 'word vomit' but there is a whole lot of heart and soul too.

I'll be crazed again in a little while when I head off in to the realm of 'slash and burn', but this one is good. It's worth the effort. I know it.

I'll be back tomorrow with that end of the year guest post that never made it elsewhere. More naked admissions. I figured I was gonna be safe making them on some one else's blog. Oh well,now you know all my secrets or at least tomorrow you will.

Still don't know where the commas go and tonight I don't care. Man, do I feel good! 


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

YIKES

Imagine this I screwed up. I made a mistake. I miscalculated/misconstrued/misinterpreted something. I know, hard to imagine of this blond cyber-challenged individual. My face is actually a little bit pink. I'm not exactly sure what happened. I seriously thought I was the 'Guest Blogger' today at www.sommerleigh.com Apparently, NOT. Maybe it's tomorrow, maybe my post was not appropriate, maybe I just talk too much. 


Stanley Baker says you create your own hell in the 'what if's'. Best not to go there. Go to Sommer's Blog anyway and enjoy some great Flash Fiction. If your so inclined, check back tomorrow, maybe I'll show up. If NOT, maybe I'll just post that particular story on my own site one day.


Who knows. Certainly not me.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

December 27 ~ Number 25 Haunted Places


Before I forget. tomorrow I'm the guest blog at www.sommerleigh.com Go there and see what I have to say about the New Year. Also, all 71 of you, please follow Sommer, not like she needs my help, but consider this, she is the bravest blogger around. She's turning her space over tome for a day. Check it out, would you please.


How was your Christmas? Mine was OK. Not spectacular but OK. Kind of glad it's over. I spent 'Boxing Day', yesterday, in bed sick as a dog. Too much Christmas fun and goodies. I almost can't wait until January 2 when it's back to healthy eating and lifestyle. Why do we have to do that, wait for a specific date? Maybe it's just me.


Enough of that. We'll surely be talking about it come next week.


Let's talk about haunted places instead. Today on the AOL Homepage they were talking about Ghost Towns, I've been to a few(even a few AOl mentioned. Although St. Elmo,CO hardly qualifies as a bona fide Ghost Town. People still live there for 'cryan out loud'.). One of my most favorite haunted places is Hovenweep National Monument.


Hovenweep is located in the Four Corners area of the US. You know that spot where Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico all meet. There's a cool monument there also. You can stand in all four states at one time, well, if you have big feet you can. Anyway...Hovenweep is off the beaten path (at least it used to be) in that general area. It's a Ghost town of sorts a deserted Anasazi Ghost town.


When we used to live in the 'High Country' (above 10,000 ft 'High Country') we liked to go out to the desert in the spring. Winter was still going strong up to home, but in the desert it was warm and sunny. There are other more famous Anasazi sites like Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon, or Canyon de Chelly, but they tend to be more crowded. Hovenweep is a little out of the way and more deserted. (When I Googled Hovenweep to try to life a picture I see there is a new visitors center, so maybe it's not the same. In the days when we went there,it was an old rusty mobile home that the ranger lived in during the summer months only. In the springtime it was us and the Spirits.)


This one spring we went out there and our car broke down. There was nothing for miles and nobody around. Trying to make the best of it we hiked and camped and had a good time for two or three days. We had brought everything we needed. Rick has an old wooden flute (recorder). At night we would sit around the campfire and he would play. That's when we saw the spirits come out and dance just off our fire. (I was not the only one to see them this time.) After that first night, when we would hike around the ruins during the day we could feel them watching us. Nothing scary just a presence. Every night they would be back for the music.


Finally, Rick hiked out to the highway to hitch a ride into to the nearest town for help. We got someone to drag the car into Blanding, UT where we spent three days waiting for repairs. Not as fun as the time at the ruins, but we did meet some interesting people there also (all of them alive).


Man, some days I miss the American West. If your in the area drive on out to Hovenweep. If your lucky enough to be there alone in the spring, maybe you'll meet some of our friends. You'll also be close to my favorite spot on in the contiguous 48, Monument Valley. Maybe one day I'll tell you about some of our travels there.


Here's a picture of Hovenweep Castle.




Enjoy to the flute music of Carlos Nakai.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

December 22 ~ Number 24 The Edge of the World~Thar Be Dragons

I started writing this on the Eve of the Solstice. The trade winds are crashing and the palms are thrashing; a perfect night for a Tropical Druid Princess to be out in the moonlight dancing around a cairn built at the edge of the world.

I have my own personal ’Edge of the World’. Let me tell ya ‘bout it.

I tend to be a little bit secretive and reclusive. I live on an island in the Caribbean that is 25 miles long by 7 miles wide a mere speck in the blue. Normally, I don’t tell people what island. (Pirate) What…do I think you’re gonna come down and look me up to tell me where the commas go. Well I live on the Isle of the Holy Cross, Santa Cruz, or St. Croix, as we say. It’s the ‘big island’ in the US Virgin Islands. I have a bad attitude about us being a US Territory, primarily because we really don’t have the rights of a US citizen, even though we are. (That’s a post for my other blog; here I try to be kinder, gentler and rational) Anyway…We are considered the further most eastern point in the US. Thus, it is said that the sun rises on the US first at Point Udall on St. Croix. My own personal ‘EDGE OF THE WORLD’ and truly when I stare out over the water at this spot ‘thar be dragons’. This is where I go when I hit that brick wall and can’t think/write/be anymore.

Last week a friend called and told me she was going back to Puerto Rico, permanently. She wanted me to go out to Point Udall with her and another friend Friday morning to see the sunrise. It was already late Thursday night. I had worked the Cruise Ship that day and I was tired, I didn’t want to go, but I have said good bye to too many friends over the phone to never see them again, so I said ‘sure, pick me up around 6:15am’.

Sunrise that morning was spectacular.  At the last minute I grabbed my camera, the pictures don’t do it justice, but here they are, all the same.





When I started thinking about it. Isn’t it December 21 or 22 of 2012 that is the last day of the Mayan Calendar, the end of the world? Just so you know…my personal take on this is…How did the Mayans suddenly become so knowledgeable? We trust that they knew when the world would end, but do we credit them with other marvelous wonders and teaching. Everyone who wants their personal fifteen minutes of fame need only come up with an end of the world prediction (or start your own blog, whichever is easier). Just sayin… (Rational remember, Barbara keep it rational).

Anyway…I have a Christmas wish for all of my friends and family, especially you lovely people who feed my ego and build my securities by reading my words and ramblings.  May you each find you own personal ‘Edge of the World” may it be a peaceful place where you muse may enlighten your mind and you worries be lifted and float into oblivion.

In this next year, be it the last of this world, the last of your life, or the first of the rest of it, I hope you dance. (I know avoid clich├ęs at all costs, but sometimes that’s what says it best.) Dance in the moonlight, dance in the day, dance in the streets or in the private of your own laundry room. Dance in person, dance in your heart, or dance in your mind. Dance on paper with words, dance with your feet, or simply let the light shine out your eyes and let them dance. Listen to the music and move with it. You know I’m gonna.

If you don’t have a personal’ edge of the world’ I’ll share mine. Come on down and see it in person. It only takes at least two planes from the US to get her. It’s expensive. We drive on the left. Everyone is so laid back, services are abominable, but “thar be dragons’.

Merry Christmas!


OK, not a Christmas song, but today...you got a weight...gimme..I'll carry it for a while.




Wednesday, December 21, 2011

December 20 ~ Number 23

Had to physch myself to post today. As it gets closer to Christmas I'm getting more and more sad about the fact that this is the first year in my life to be so far away with no family around. I hate that. I am not normally a sad person and I generally love Christmas. It's my choice to live her and it is paradise.


OK, enough of that. I am not going to whine.


Last Thursday it was 'Double Cruise Ship Day'. That means we had two cruise ships stop at the island. On those days I usually go and work the bazaar with my friend Iotha. It's fun. Kind of like a big party. I like haggleing with the tourists.


Anyway, I got pictures.


First up. The booth. That's Miss Iotha to the left in the long dress with the red hat. 




Here are some of the general bazaar;





The 'Mocko Jumbies' came to entertain and protect us all from the 'Jumbies" (evils spirits).




One cruise ship had come in very early in the morning (this is what they usually do), but the other was docking later in the day.




I have one more picture of the 'Mocko Jumbie', it wouldn't post before.




There is music blaring and people dancing. As I said earlier it's like a big street party, 'Cruzan Style'. Most of the music was Christmas music, but you had to listen close to recognize it. It's all played with either a calypso or reggae beat.


On these days when I work the cruise ships I am Cruzan. I like that.


This was yesterday's post, but we have been having big storms pass by the island. Lots of wind, big surf and poor Internet connection.


Tomorrow, I hope I'll be back. I have some pictures of the 'Edge of the World' to show you.


Still don't know where the commas go, not particularly sure where I am today either. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

**Deja Vu Blogfest** SPECIAL POST December 16, 2011

I originally posted this on December 1,2011. Not long ago. When I thought about what I wanted to put out there again, I was reminded of a recent blog I read that said; "honesty and emotion" made the most interesting posts. For me,it doesn't get much more real than this. Other than the time I took my clothes off in public, but unfortunately, I'm sure that will happen again.l This won't. I hope you enjoy.


** Daddy**


To say Daddy was eccentric would be putting it mildly. He would celebrate birthdays of ancestors long dead. He also celebrated their death dates. Maybe celebrated isn't the right word, more like remembered. I grew up thinking this was more than a little creepy, and vowed never to do it.


A few days ago I was paying tribute to my husband about how much he puts up with, especially during the month of November (NaNoWriMo). Someone commented and I commented back with something Daddy had told me about Rick. Daddy said: "I hope you know how much this guy loves you. You're a nut. He puts up with you. Don't let this one get away." That one little comment along with being painfully aware that the end of November was fast approaching reminded me that:


Daddy passed away twelve years ago today, December1,1999. In my life he was undeniably my "Most Interesting Character".


Daddy claimed he always wanted to be a doctor. His daddy died when he was three, Grandma was left to raise four small children. There was no money for higher education. Daddy resented the fact that one of his uncles promised to send him to college and later reneged.


Daddy applied for a job with the Chicago Police Department and was called up while still in the Navy at the very end of WWII. Daddy was perfect 'cop' material having been a hellion all of his life, he knew every trick in the book. Oh, I'm sure he learned a few while 'on the job' but he probably taught some too.


Daddy was 'true blue all the way through'. Anybody remember Archie Bunker of 'All in the Family'. Daddy made Archie look like a kindly old man who never met a person he didn't like. At Daddy's knee I heard ethnic slurs you wouldn't believe. It wasn't until recently that I genuinely appreciated the guys who dated me while I lived at home. They had to brave Daddy, to get me out the door. OUCH! I'm a little embarrassed about some of the guys I dated after I left home, just to spite him.


Daddy was no fool. At a young age he started to get me out of the city for the summer and send me down to the farm. The 'family farms' were owned by people who were actually good friends of the family, not relatives. I grew up calling them aunt and uncle and thinking the kids were my cousins. I was close to thirty before I learned I was not related even distantly to any of these people. Like I  said, Daddy was no fool. He spent a lot of time on the farm too. He knew what those kids were doing in the haylofts. Much better to have me think I was related to them. I wonder if he ever considered their friends. I did.


I'm an only child. Daddy never had a son. I learned to fish, hunt, ride horses, drive a car when I was 12 and all kind of other 'boy' things. I was never allowed to cuss. I secretly thought a son might have been granted that privilege. Daddy wanted me to go to college in the worst way. I wanted to go too. I graduated H.S. young, he wouldn't allow me to attend the college of my choice. So, I commuted to the U of I at Chicago and studied Theater.I got into plenty of trouble right there under his nose. Daddy was steamed, but he let me do it.


I was raised to think for myself. Daddy wanted me to be an independent thinker when it came to everyone but him. That backfired. I was raised to believe that I didn't have to take NO for an answer. I was raised to believe that I could do/be whatever I wanted, if I was willing to work hard for it. I was raised to work hard.


Daddy was a hard man. There were plenty of times I resented him and his ideas. I had to, as he would say, 'toe the mark' all of the time. BUT, I never doubted that he loved me. He took the time to teach me things, especially those 'boy things'. He took me with him almost everywhere. Many a day I waited in the car while Daddy went into a tavern because he had 'to see a man about a  dog'.(Seriously, he said that.) I thought Daddy was the bravest, strongest, fiercest man alive. Only once, as an adult, did Daddy ever tell me he was afraid of something. He was afraid of Sunday nights. He said it was a lonely time. I asked him why he was afraid of Sunday nights and he said because he was afraid of dying.


Cops didn't make much money back then, still don't when you consider what they do. Momma went to work full time when I started kindergarten. Because Daddy worked shifts he only worked 'days' one month out of three. We spent a lot of time together. When I was young most Mom's didn't work. School assemblies were held during the day and your Mom would come to hear you recite a poem of whatever silly thing your class was doing that month. There in the front row,on those little kid sized folding chairs will all the Mom's would be my six foot, burly Cop Daddy cheering me on the loudest.


I had some interesting family experiences with Daddy also. Go back and read my 'Ghost Story' posts. He never wanted to be a believer. But, they were always there for him.


A few months after his ninetieth birthday Daddy gave up. He fell and had a crack in the vertebrae at the base of his neck. He had to be in a nursing home for rehab. He hated it and gave them fits. On November 30th they called me in for a conference with the staff and Daddy. They made Daddy promise to behave and do his physical therapy. He promised. They sent him back to his room and lectured me about how serious this was. I went to talk to Daddy and plead with him to live up to his promise. He told me, "Barbara, I lied. I'm not going to do it. I want out of here. I'm ready to die. Let me go." I went home and told Rick. "If a person can will them self to death, I'm not sure he will see the end of the year."


They called me the next day. Daddy's lungs were filling up with fluid and he had a 'DNR'. They would make him comfortable, but offer no medication. I raced over to plead with Daddy to let me take him to the hospital and treat the pneumonia. He again asked me to "let him go". I did. I sat with him all day. He had been blind for the past few years, but during that day his family paraded by the foot of his bed waiting to take him home. He kept asking me who these people, who I couldn't see, were. He waited until evening for our entire family to be there and he quietly slipped away. Daddy died exactly the way he lived. Completely on his own terms. It was not a Sunday night, but I made sure he was not alone. I know he was not afraid.


If you have stayed with me this long you are definitely a faithful follower. Thanks for being patient with me while I ramble on about Daddy. I still miss him and love him fiercely, I always did.


Daddy used to play this song on an old record for me. I heard it a lot, but he always made sure he played it on my birthday. I love you Daddy. I hope you're enjoying the adventure.




No commas,no thinking, just my heart today.


When I originally posted this I neglected to say that my parents were well up in years before I was born. They never slowed down and kept going strong for me. It wasn't until I was in H.S. that a friend pointed out that my parents were older than her grandparents. I never knew.


I also forgot to say that Daddy taught me to shoot, all kinds of guns. When I moved to the VI, I had to leave my guns in the States. It's a strange delight for an avowed pacifist, but I do love guns. One of my prized possessions. Daddy's service revolver.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

December 15 ~ Number 21 Irie! We be havin' a Cruzan Christmas




Before we get to carried away, DO NOT FORGET tomorrow is the Deja Vu Blogfest. This should be a lot of fun. Can you guess which post I'm going to recycle. Tune in to see. Check out some of the other blogs and follow, follow, follow new people. Better yet,go over to that little badge, right over there to your right and click on it NOW. Sign up to participate yourself. It's free, it's easy, you will like it. I promise you will meet some new and exciting people. 


Also, I really don't want to tell you about this (I want more chances to win myself),but I promised I would. Cherie Reich is giving away critiques. Can you believe it! Go to www.cheriereich.blogspot.com scroll through to her post of 12/8 and fill out the form.You could win. Even though I hope it's really me.{a real 'geek' could probably post a link that would take you right to the contest page, but alas, I'm only half a geek. I'm workin' on it.}


 Last Saturday was the official kick of the Christmas Festival here on island. It starts with a Boat Parade in the Christiansted Harbor. Music is everywhere. Steel Pan bands on the corners and sound systems blaring from the boats and from the shore. It is a veritable surround sound of musical delights. Are you listening? 


Here we go:


video
The boats!
There were 23 boats in all and they each came around in the parade 3 or 4 times. One more than that. Everybody was having a good time.



video


video

We be dancin' and we be singin'. That be why my video is not so good.


The was a crowd of people on the wharf. It's always a wonder tome that nobody gets knocked into the drink.


Cruzans love to party. We be havin' a good time.


We topped the night off with dinner at a dockside restaurant, "Rumrunners". I had Local Lobster Salad and Conch fritters. I love Conch. The season is short now, because they have been over fished and they are being protected. You have to get 'em while you can. Yes - conch are the huge snails that come in those large beautiful shells that the tourists buy. Conch fritters, conch curry, conch chowder. I love it all!


Here's a song for you that is big here. I've posted it with the words, so you can see exactly what it's like to decipher 'Island speak'. It's English. Just not the English you're probably used to.




The Holidays are a little rough. This is the time of year when I miss my family, I even miss the 'High Country', but man oh man "I Love My Life".


Today I don't know and I don't care where the commas go.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December 13 - Number 20 'Just Another Ghost Story'

This poor post has been through so many edits, I'm not sure it makes sense any more. You probably won't even notice. Before I go any further though,I want to remind you that this Thursday December 15th is the DEJA VU BLOGFEST, see that icon/badge right over there to your right.Go there now and click on it. It will take you to a land of enchantment(no,not New Mexico) where you can sign up for this fun blog hop. You know you want to. Check it out. I'm there in spot number 119 (I think) under my name Barbara Jean Byrem (I'm an airhead and filled out the Mr.Linky wrong, so you got my name instead of the blog title. BTW Mr.Linky hates me.) I was just reminded in a comment that the blogfest is friday December 16th NOT Thursday December 15th. Of course,you were smart enough to click on the badge and not trust me, so you would have known anyway. When you finish be sure to click on the comments, even if you cannot imagine what you would say to this post. Please see my explanation for this craziness.


 OK, there is all the "hence and so forth" that follows here and I have to admit there will be no pictures of the ranch attached. It seems a lot of my friends have become people I used to know. My fault not theirs. What can I say; I'm very politically incorrect, direct and painfully honest. It seems a lot of folks don't like that. Oh well, I had another good reason for not posting this 'Ghost Story' last week,which I shall not divulge. Enough of the excuses. Here we go.


One more thing. Yesterday on my other blog (Are you kidding me? She has two. What a big mouth.) I promised to post 'We behavin' a Cruzan Christmas'. that's because I forgot about the "Ghost Story". so, we'll have the Cruzan Christmas on Thursday 12/20, after the Blogfest, if I can remember where I am and what I'm doing. Now,roll the Ghost Story, will you please.


I promised I would tell this story here today, but I almost didn't. Let me tell you the reason.


About two years ago my husband and I started to realize that our time in Idaho was limited. We began making plans to move to an island. We were looking at Catalina Island off the coast of southern California. That didn't happen. 


Around the first part of April we switched directions and started pursuing a move to the Caribbean. That did happen.


We sold most of our stuff. We packed up the rest and put it in a storage locker in Idaho. Since that time we have sold more of the stuff out of the storage locker. I don't miss the things. I do miss the memories. I did not bring my scrapbooks and other pictures. 


Hence, the reason I almost didn't tell this story here today. I wanted to post pictures of the place. I am in contact with a friend who still lives there and I'm hopeful that she will email me some pics and I will post them for you to see next week. This story happened in a real place. Every word is true. It happened to me.


My husband and I have been fortunate to live in some incredible places. Why? I'm not sure, maybe it's because we didn't have to own them. We have been tenants of the world for most of our married life. Sometimes I feel a little insecure about that, but most of the time, I sit back and enjoy the ride.


One of the best places we lived was on a 400 acre ranch about two miles outside of a major Colorado ski town. If I'm ever homesick, it's for that place.
We rented from Al and Mary. Al was the grandson of the man who homesteaded the place. Al and Mary lived in a more modern house across the valley from our place. It was the house his father built. The house we lived in was the old homestead house. This was not some poor rancher who built this place. It was a two story log house with all the modern conveniences of the day. By the time we lived there electricity and plumbing had been added, but the conduit and pipes ran on the outside of the walls. There were gas caps over the sconces where gas had been added before our time. There was a massive fireplace in the living room and a smaller one backing up to it in the dining room. Unfortunately ,when we lived there the chimney had partially collapsed in on itself, so fires were not possible. We did have a large wood stove on a back porch addition. The house sat across a narrow road from the big two story barn. This barn was a massive structure with a huge hayloft upstairs.


To say there were some deficiencies would be putting it mildly.This place was almost a hundred years old. But the trade offs were worth every one of the deficiencies and then some. I loved that old house. We painted and spruced it up and had a great time while we were there.


One afternoon in broad daylight I was sitting on the couch in the living room. I looked up and there was a man standing at the end of the fireplace leaning on the mantle. He was dressed a little odd. He had on heavy pants that looked like maybe they were wool, a heavy shirt and a vest.  We was just standing there looking into space. I asked him who he was. He turned his head and looked at me but did not answer. Then he was gone.





One day we're up at Al & Mary's visiting and I asked; "Who is the guy in the house?" 


"What guy?" Al asks.


So I describe him and tell them where I generally see him. Al and Mary exchange a look and the say at the same time, "Martin".


So,who is Martin? Martin is Al's grandfather,the guy who homesteaded the place. It seems he was an ornery old cuss (are you surprised?) who had a habit of taunting his daughter. The daughter probably wasn't completely stable, so one day she shot him.Oh yeah, she killed him. Apparently,she fired the gun at him several times. The next time Mary was at our place,she showed me where one of the bullets was lodged in the hardwood floor. 


Her brother, who was Al's father, was worried about his sister's mental stability. He took the wrap. He was also the District Attorney at the time. It was quite the scandal. He got off on an accidental death deal. I'm not exactly sure how that went down, but he was acquitted.


A few more interesting facts. That bullet lodged in the floor. Well, I'm no forensic specialist but  by where it was, I would have to guess that Martin was standing in the exact spot I would see him when he met his maker.


This ranch was a prime piece of real estate. Eventually, due to some trouble with an ex-wife and other debts, Al basically 'lost' the ranch to some unsavory developers. They would say they bought it, but they only paid a fraction of it's true worth. Al and Mary were allowed to stay on and live in the house that Al's father build and they were granted an acre of land. We of course,were asked to leave.



During the course of our packing up and  leaving these developers were 'looting' the barn for antiques and stripping it down. One day,my whole family and I were home and the house literally shuddered. It shook like it had been hit by a wrecking ball. My husband shouted upstairs to me,"what was that?". When we looked outside, we saw them tossing things out of the barn. Another time around dusk, they came up on the ranch in their fancy SUV's and the whole place went dark for a few minutes. I mean dark as midnight with no moon or stars or nothing. So dark you could not see your hand in front of your face dark, scary dark, closet dark. They noticed it too, because their vehicles stopped dead in their tracks. I was a sad time.


Mary and Al told us that over time the developers went in and remodeled the old homestead house. The plan was to use it as a vacation home, until they built their mansion up in one of the meadows.


According to Mary, after we left no one ever spent the night in that house again. They would show up and cart all their luggage in and around sundown be carting it back out again. I guess Martin had to like you or you were not welcome.


For a few years I lost touch with Al and Mary. Around that time I started seeing Al. I would see him different places where ever we were living. It was a little strange. I looked Mary up and she told me Al had passed away. I told her I was seeing him and she wasn't surprised. Mary and I have often discussed what my connection to Al's family was. I have no idea. I will tell you that last week at "Jump Up', a big Street Festival here on my island in the Caribbean, Rick and I were walking down one of the streets coming upon a big 'steel pan band' and there was Al, as calm as ever watching them play. I looked at him and he looked right at me.


I contacted Mary and she's supposed to call me this weekend. I hope to have pictures to show you of this beautiful ranch and the house and barn sometime next week.


I can't explain this story, but I can tell you that it is true. Every word. It happened to me. Why? Who knows? I'm glad Martin liked me. I miss Al, but apparently, he checks up on me every so often.


I still don't know where the commas go. Tonight I'm glad I thought about this little bit of my past. It is a cherished memory. I love that place. I can see it as vivid today as when I lived there.


Enjoy!





I know, I posted this song one day last week,but I like it and it reminds me of Martin. Unfortunately, a little bit of myself too! 


Side note: when we left the ranch we moved to a primitive fishing cabin some friends of ours owned on a lake at the north end of the county. We were only therefor three months and we left Colorado for good to the wilds of Idaho.

Friday, December 9, 2011

December 8 ~ Number 19 ~ Perspective

I made a big deal on the other blog www.babsinparadise.blogspot.com about the stress of keeping up two blogs. Last Monday,over there, I stated that I would Post on 'babs' on Monday and Friday and I will post here on the Far Away Series on Tuesday and Thursday and I would take Wednesday off. So the first Wednesday, I wasn't off, because it was the first Wednesday of the month and that's always The Insecure Writers Support Group, and because I'm sooo insecure, I had to post yesterday.


Are you thoroughly confused, if so,good. That means we're starting on the same page.


First, I want to thank everyone who helped me out. If you will look to the right you will see my new icons/badges. The best part is, if you run your cursor over them you will see that they are a link to the blog that tells you all about them. If you want go there now. I'm gonna keep typing but you can catch up.


Second, I have another technology question. When I open this blog some days it tells me I have 56 followers (Yeah!) and other times it says I have 19 followers (a little less than that big yeah). Does anybody know why that is? If so, can you explain it to me...slowly. I'm really not a headhunter, but it feels kind of nice to think 56 people thought enough of my blog at one time or another to click that little ole follow button. Maybe, it's just another 'insecurity  test'. Like can you take it today if I take over half of your followers away? I guess it depends on your perspective.


Today I had the car. (We only have one, so we share. Rick doesn't share well. I only get the car on rare occasions.) I love having the car. Even if I don't have to go anywhere it gives a sense of abandon and freedom. On an island that's 26 miles long by 7 miles wide that can be important. When I went to pick Rick up after work we decided to go to the West Coast for dinner.


We went to my favorite beach bar. Rhythms.




That's it right there down the beach. (This wasn't last night, but you get the idea) This place is right on the beach at the western end of the island. We went there for the Local Lobster Quesadillas and sunset. When you look out over the water, the next land mass you would come to will be Belize. That was my perspective tonight. Sometimes I'm very Far Away!


What's your perspective?


No commas, no philosophy and a lot of water.


Enjoy!




Life in the Islands. Couldn't get an Internet connection to post this last night. Ah Pirates!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

EXTRA POST - Wednesday, December 7 - The Insecure Writers Support Group

One of the things I'm insecure about is that I don't know how to post the little square icon WITH the link for this group. I've spent three days trying to figure out how to do this for another icon/link and it's just not happening. I emailed my computer guru/geek and they are not answering me. One of the blogs I follow has got to think I'm stalking them because I've been back so many times trying to figure this out.


IF you can TELL ME HOW TO DO THIS in terms a BLOND, CYBER-CHALLENGED individual CAN UNDERSTAND. Please HELP. Keep in mind I know how to 'lift' the picture of the icon and re-post it, but I want the link to come along for the ride. So you click on the icon and it sends you to the place that will explain it all.


That said; If you want to know more about 'The Insecure Writers Support Group' click here, www.alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com It's not as sexy as having the icon but it gets the job done.


INSECURITIES


I'm seriously struggling with keeping up the productivity after NaNoWriMo. I was prepared for a little 'let down' but this is epic. I don't expect to keep up the pace I was working at for those 30 days but I didn't expect to hit a brick wall either. The doubts are monsters. I know the work needs a ton of editing but there is some really good stuff there,I just can't seem to stay in the characters heads.


Any suggestions? Anybody?


My only suggestion is that I need a new playlist. I know a lot of people say they can't listen to music when they write. I can. My WIP is written from several different POV's. I have one song that so totally fits one of my characters. When I write him, I put it on repeat and I have no trouble finding his voice. I suppose the answer is to find music for each character and go that way. First,I need to find patience.


Does music work for anyone else?


During NaNo JP at Where Sky Meets Ground held a Songfest. I went there every morning to see what his song was for that day. Crazy, but it helped.


What's your song today? Tell me,tell me,tell me. Maybe it will help.


Here's mine.





Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December 6 -Number 18 'Bountiful Harvest'

I had promised to tell you another Ghost Story today. That post is written but for a multitude of reasons I have to wait a week. I promise it will be posted on Tuesday December 13th. One of the bonuses to that is, hopefully I'll have pictures to go along with it by then.  I'm sorry, Please be patient with me.


I hope the replacement post won't be lame. I always hope I'm not lame. 


Tonight Rick was particularly late getting home from work. I was down at the pool and when I came home and the place was dark I was worried. In a few minutes he came in with this:




And this:




On his way home he ran into a buddy,Rasta Michael, hitchhiking. Rick picked him up and took him home. Michael and his wife live back in the 'bush'. He has 3.5 acres and quite a garden.We are the recipients of it's bounty today. There is eggplant, papaya, sweet red peppers, okra, sweet green peppers a few little tomatoes, Chinese squash and all kinds of greens for salad and bush tea. We had fresh salad and the squash tonight. Tomorrow it's Eggplant Parmesan.


Life is good and so is the produce, especially if you live in the tropics in December. I might not know where the commas go,but we'll be eating good.


This song has nothing to do with this post, except I like it.



Thursday, December 1, 2011

**Deja Vu Blogfest** SPECIAL POST December 16, 2011

I originally posted this on December 1, 2011. Not long ago. When I thought about what I wanted to put out there again, I was reminded of a recent blog I read that said; "honesty and emotion" made the most interesting posts. For me, it doesn't get much more real than this. Other than the time I took my clothes off in public, but unfortunately, I'm sure that will happen again. This won't. I hope you enjoy.


** Daddy**


To say Daddy was eccentric would be putting it mildly. He would celebrate birthdays of ancestors long dead. He also celebrated their death dates. Maybe celebrated isn't the right word, more like remembered. I grew up thinking this was more than a little creepy, and vowed never to do it.


A few days ago I was paying tribute to my husband about how much he puts up with, especially during the month of November (NaNoWriMo). Someone commented and I commented back with something Daddy had told me about Rick. Daddy said: "I hope you know how much this guy loves you. You're a nut. He puts up with you. Don't let this one get away." That one little comment along with being painfully aware that the end of November fast approaching reminded me that:


Daddy passed away twelve years ago today, December 1st, 1999. In my life he was undeniably my "Most Interesting Character".


Daddy claimed he always wanted to be a doctor. His daddy died when he was three, Grandma was left to raise four small children. There was no money for higher education. Daddy resented the fact that one of his uncles promised to send him to college and later reneged. 


Daddy applied for a job with the Chicago Police department and was called up while still in the Navy at the very end of WWII. Daddy was perfect 'cop' material having been a hellion all his life, he knew every trick in the book. Oh I'm sure he learned a few while 'on the job' but he probably taught some too.


Daddy was 'true blue all the way through'. Anybody remember Archie Bunker of 'All in the Family'. Daddy made Archie look like a kindly old man who never met a person he didn't like. At Daddy's knee I heard ethnic slurs you wouldn't believe. It wasn't until recently that I genuinely appreciated the guys who dated me while I lived at home. They had to brave Daddy,to get me out the door.OUCH! I'm a little embarrassed about some of the guys I dated after I left home, just to spite him.


Daddy was no fool. At a young age he started to get me out of the city for the summer and send me down to the farm. The 'family farms' were owned by people who were actually good friends of the family, not relatives. I grew up calling them aunt and uncle and thinking the kids were my cousins. I was close to thirty before I learned I was not related even distantly to any of these people. Like I said Daddy was no fool. He spent a lot of time on the farm too. He knew what those kids were doing in the haylofts. Much better to have me think I was related to them. I wonder if he ever considered their friends. I did.


I'm an only child. Daddy never had a son. I learned to fish, hunt, ride horses, drive a car when I was 12 and all kind of other 'boy' things. I was never allowed to cuss. I secretly thought a son might have been granted that privilege. Daddy wanted me to go to college in the worst way. I wanted to go too. I graduated H.S. young, he wouldn't allow me to attend the college of my choice. So I commuted to the U of I at Chicago and studied Theater. I got into plenty of trouble right there under his nose. Daddy was steamed, but he let me do it.


I was raised to think for myself. Daddy wanted me to be an independent thinker when it came to everyone but him. That backfired. I was raised to believe that I didn't have to take NO for an answer. I was raised to believe that I could do/be whatever I wanted, if I was willing to work hard for it. I was raised to work hard.


Daddy was a hard man. There were plenty of times I resented him and his ideas. I had to, as he would say, 'toe the mark' all of the time. BUT, I never doubted that he loved me. He took the time to teach me things,especially those 'boy things'.He took me with him almost everywhere. Many a day I waited in the car while Daddy went into a tavern because 'he had to see a man about a dog'. (Seriously, he said that.) I thought Daddy was the bravest, strongest fiercest man alive.Only once, as an adult, did Daddy ever tell me he was afraid of something. He was afraid of Sunday nights. He said it was a lonely time. I asked him why he was afraid of Sunday nights and he said because he was afraid of dying.


Cops didn't make much money back then, still don't when you consider what they do. Momma went to work full time when I started kindergarten. Because Daddy worked shifts he only worked 'days' one month out of three. We spent a lot of time together. When I was young most Mom's didn't work. School assemblies were held during the day and your Mom would come to hear you recite a poem or whatever silly thing your class was doing that month. There in the front row, on those little kid sized folding chairs with all the Mom's would be my six foot, burly Cop Daddy cheering me on the loudest.


I had some interesting family experiences with Daddy also.Go back and read my 'Ghost Story' posts. He never wanted to be a believer. But, they were always there for him.


A few months after his ninetieth birthday Daddy gave up. He fell and had a crack in the vertebrae at the base of his neck. He had to be in a nursing home for rehab. He hated it and gave them fits. On November 30th they called me in for a conference with the staff and Daddy. They made Daddy promise to behave and do his physical therapy. He promised.They sent him back to his room and lectured me about how serious this was. I went to talk to Daddy and plead with him to live up to his promise. He told me, "Barbara I lied. I'm not going to do it. I want out of here. I'm ready to die. Let me go." I went home and told Rick. "If a person can will them self to death, I'm not sure he will see the end of the year."


They called me the next day. Daddy's lungs were filling up with fluid and he had a 'DNR'. They would make him comfortable but offer no medication. I raced over to plead with Daddy to let me take him to the hospital and treat the pneumonia. He again asked me to "Let him go". I did. I sat with him all day. He had been blind for the past few years,but during that day his family paraded by the foot of his bed waiting to take him home. He kept asking me who these people, whom I couldn't see, were. He waited until evening for our entire family to be there and he quietly slipped away. Daddy died exactly the way he lived. Completely on his own terms. It was not a Sunday night, but I made sure he was not alone. I know he was not afraid.


If you have stayed with me this long you are definitely a faithful follower. Thanks for being patient with me while I ramble on about Daddy.I still miss him and I love him fiercely, I always did.


Daddy used to play this song on an old record for me. I heard it a lot, but he always made sure he played it on my birthday. I love you Daddy.I hope you're enjoying the adventure.




No commas, no thinking, just my heart today.


When I originally posted this I neglected to say that my parents were well up in years before I was born. They never slowed down and kept going strong for me. It wasn't until I was in H.S. that a friend pointed out that my parents were older than her grandparents. I never knew.


I also neglected to mention that Daddy taught me to shoot, all kinds of guns.  When I moved to the VI, I had to leave my guns in the States. It's a strange hobby for an avowed pacifist, but I do love guns. One of my prized possessions; Daddy's service revolver.